By Michael Ke

As the semester is about to be over, my exchange life is coming to an end. These four months in US have been nothing but a marvelous journey. As I expected before coming to Temple, the courses are truly spectacular, not to mention I met tons of great friends. It’s safe to say that I have enjoyed every minute here in Philadelphia. For my last post as the Global Programs blogger, I just want to share my final reflection, or some takeaways, with you.

Always manage the expenditure in advance

As I have said in previous posts, the consumption level in America is much higher than a lot of places around the world. It’s easy to spend money without being aware of it. Furthermore, as an exchange student, I wanted to seize the opportunity to explore in US. The travel expenditure could empty our wallets. The best way to solve this problem is to set an expenditure plan in advance. For me, I have my own monthly budget and try to save any unnecessary expenditure. For instance, we can simply save a great amount of money by cooking, instead of dining out. Also, buying the monthly bike pass helps to save on commuting costs. The concept of this kind of plan is to prevent avoidable expenditure and resist the temptation to spend. If you can successfully execute the plan, living in the US will just be much easier.

Always be open-minded

As a newcomer to the US, you should always be open-minded. Living in a different country and different life for two decades, it’s impossible to change all your habits overnight. We are who we are. However, now that we are in the US, why don’t we embrace the American lifestyle, or even blend it with our own culture? What I want to emphasize is not to “imitate” the American culture, but to learn from it and to respect it. I am still Taiwanese, but I’ve learned some good points from Americans as well. For example, I really appreciate that Americans always greet people with spirit. It doesn’t matter they truly mean it or just do it to be polite, it makes me feel welcomed. I also love that Americans greet people with fist bump or friendly hug. That small amount of physical contact really makes a difference. This is something I want to bring back to Taiwan and share with friends around me. Still, there are phenomena that only happen in US that I still don’t understand. The most obvious one is that they don’t use umbrellas. I do respect their choice, but I’m still going to use my umbrella!

The point is that you don’t have to be either a Taiwanese or an American student. Learning the features from a different culture, and learning from them to live the life we want, we can all be global citizens.

Carpe diem

Carpe diem, means “seize the day,” or that people should enjoy life while they can. We exchange students, as this Latin phrase advises, should seize every moment and always keep it in mind. Unlike local students, we don’t have four years here at Temple. This means that we have no time to waste! We shouldn’t stay at home, doing nothing, and think, “I’ll do it next time.” Every opportunity could be the last one we have in Philadelphia. Explore the world while serendipity welcomes you with open arms. I love my campus life here at Temple and I love my life in the City of Brotherly Love. I do believe I live a marvelous life here because I make every second count. Just do it!

Thank You

It seems that I have only just arrived here, but it’s been four months already. Time does fly, doesn’t it? I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for Casey, Sam, and all the staff in the Global Programs office. You are always so patient and kind. Also, I do appreciate and cherish every single person I encountered at Temple. You have made the exchange journey better than ever. Thank You! I look forward to seeing you all again in the near future.